Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Can You Count on Chad Bettis at Coors Field?

Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Can You Count on Chad Bettis at Coors Field? article feature image

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chad Bettis

MLB Betting: Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies

  • Over/Under: 11
  • First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Vincent Velasquez (9-11, 4.59 ERA) vs. Chad Bettis (5-2, 5.18 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 99-70-4, +21.6 units
Monday’s Result: Pirates-Cubs Under 8 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

The Colorado Rockies still have a lot to play for — the NL West crown or a wild-card berth — as the final week of the season winds down. Can six-year veteran Chad Bettis be relied on to deliver a clutch spot start?

Despite a lackluster showing in 2018 that has seen Bettis muddled with his highest ERA (5.18) in years, I believe he can be decent enough. And with an over/under this high, that’s really all we need out of the former second-round draft pick.

First off, it’s important to note that Bettis isn’t expected to go deep in this affair, with manager Bud Black saying Bettis would be limited to 30-50 pitches.

That’s OK because Bettis has been far, far better as a reliever. Yes, he’s technically starting tonight, but his splits indicate that he’s been much superior in shorter work, with a 2.16 ERA in six relief appearances spread across 8.1 innings since Aug. 24.

By contrast, he’s posted a 5.42 ERA in his 19 starts this season. We should get a satisfactory effort from the 29-year-old for at least the first third of the contest.

The plan with Bettis means we’re going to be depending on the Rockies bullpen for sizable work. Although Colorado relievers have put up a 4.66 ERA, they’ve actually been much improved in the season’s second half.

Since the All-Star break, the bullpen has registered a 3.73 ERA, the third-best in the National League over that time, and the relief core’s 9.62 K/9 ranks fourth in the NL following the Midsummer Classic.

Just as important: The Phillies have been struggling lately and are losers of five games in a row and seven of their last nine to be officially eliminated from the playoff picture.

Over that span, they’ve averaged just 3.3 runs per game. We’ll hope the offensive rut continues at least one more game for the Phillies following their demoralizing anti-climactic elimination.

As for the Phillies’ starting pitcher this evening, I actually feel he can be the most valuable piece of this under bet. That would be Vince Velasquez, who doesn’t sport the prettiest stat line at first glance, but is someone who has performed better than his numbers.

For instance, although Velasquez carries a 4.59 ERA into this assignment, he actually has notched a very respectable 3.65 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which can sometimes be a more accurate metric of how a pitcher has looked.

Velasquez’s FIP is in the same ballpark as upper-echelon starters like Zack Greinke (3.74), Charlie Morton (3.62) and David Price (3.90). And the reason for Velasquez’s considerably higher ERA can be attributed to poor luck — he’s had to deal with a .311 batting average on balls put in play.

Furthermore, Velasquez has been striking out batters with regularity again. There was concern when the 26-year-old’s K/9 dropped from a career-best 10.44 in 2016 to 8.5 a year ago.

This season, however, Velasquez is racking up a healthy 10.01 K/9.

Play: UNDER 11 (-115)